For the second time since its UK-Australia merger in 2012, the bulk of partner promotions at Herbert Smith Freehills have come from Asia Pacific, while a record 43% of those being made up are women.
Just over half of the 21 lawyers promoted to the partnership came in Asia Pacific, with the firm investing heavily in Tokyo, where three associates join the partnership in the disputes and corporate groups. Six of the 11 new partners in the Asia Pacific came in Australia, the home of legacy Freehills, as Melbourne trio Joanne Draper (projects), Stefanie Wilkinson (corporate) and Jacqueline Wootton (disputes) all made the grade.
Nine lawyers were made up in the City, two down on last year, and the firm again swerved continental Europe as it made up just one new partner in the form of Madrid-based private equity M&A specialist Pablo Garcia-Nieto. Seeking to establish a stronger footing in continental Europe, the firm has instead turned to the lateral market over the past 12 months, hiring the likes of Dirk Hamann from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with Europe making up half of the firm’s 12 lateral hires in that period.
However, building on last year’s 35% female round, this year’s round will boost gender diversity after the firm publically committed to a 25% female partnership by May 2017 and 30% by May 2019. Having introduced targeted career development, mentoring and coaching, unconscious bias training for partners and inclusive leadership development, nine of the 21 new partners are women, representing 43% of the 2015 promotions round.
Mark Rigotti, joint chief executive, said: ‘I’m delighted that nearly half of our new partners are women. This is a clear demonstration of the firm’s commitment to gender diversity within the legal profession and a further step towards our stated target of a 30% female partnership by 2019.’
Herbert Smith Freehills’ 2015 partner promotions in full:
UK and EMEA
Dinesh Banani – Corporate (US Securities), London
Neil Blake – Disputes, London
Heather Culshaw – Finance, London
Harry Edwards – Disputes, London
Pablo Garcia-Nieto – Corporate (M&A/Private Equity), Madrid
Tim Healey – Real Estate (Construction), London
Catherine Howard – Real Estate (Planning), London
Sarah McNally – Disputes, London
Alice Rogers – Real Estate, London
Aurell Taussig – Corporate (Tax), London
Bryony Adams – Disputes, Sydney
Paul Apathy – Finance, Sydney
Joanne Draper – Projects, Melbourne
Christopher Hunt – Disputes, Tokyo
Andrew McLean – Finance, Perth
Richard Norridge – Disputes, Hong Kong
Alexis Papasolomontos – Corporate (M&A), Tokyo
Mark Robinson – Corporate (TMT), Singapore
Stefanie Wilkinson – Corporate, Melbourne
Elaine Wong – Disputes, Tokyo
Jacqueline Wootton – Disputes, Melbourne